Hamilton County Commissioners and ArtsWave Announce COVID Relief Grants for Hard-hit Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

Melissa Gelfin De-Poli and Cervilio Miguel Amador dancing The Nutcracker from a previous Cincinnati Ballet season. Photography: Peter Mueller

Thanks to Covid-19, this has been a terrible time for everyone, including workers and performers in the arts, who have been among the hardest hit in the nation. And the new variants have not made their comeback any easier.

Hamilton County has teamed up with ArtsWave to announce that it will award $2 million in nonprofit arts and cultural grants funded through the County’s allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars.

The grants will be awarded to combat the negative economic impact of Covid-19 on the local arts community and to fuel the region’s economic restart. Links to the applications and funding guidelines are available on the County’s Covid relief site – https://513relief.org/ and https://www.artswave.org/apply.

The Covid-19 relief grants will cover costs incurred due to business disruption, in a two-year period in which performing arts venues and museums lost significant box office and admissions revenue. The grants can also cover costs of mitigation expenses for re-opening and adaptations required for digital programming. Total grant amounts will be based on operating revenue from the prior fiscal year.
ArtsWave will host a virtual information session on Wednesday, February 3, 2022, from 12–1 p.m. answering questions and outlining the eligibility and application process. To join the information session, visit artswave.org/apply and click on “Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Grants Information Session.”

Mandy Gaines at the Pops; photo provided

The Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Relief Program will cover costs of necessary expenditures incurred by Hamilton County arts and culture organizations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2022. All interested applicants must submit their materials through ArtsWave’s website (artswave.org/apply) by 5 p.m. on February 15, 2022.

Review of applications will begin immediately, and grant recipients will be notified in March by ArtsWave.
“We know that a stronger arts and cultural environment means a stronger Hamilton County,” said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “This industry has been decimated financially by the pandemic and we wanted to make sure that we take care of the people and organizations that make us so vibrant.”
CSO concerts began slowly, with social distancing onstage and in the audience. Photo provided

Arts organizations typically derive between half and two-thirds of their annual operating budgets from earned income sources like ticket sales, sponsorships and contracts, said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave President & CEO.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for arts organizations that, like any other industry, have fixed costs and valuable employees,” she said. “Relief from Hamilton County from the CARES Act funding and now the ARP, combined with City of Cincinnati relief efforts and three years of ArtsWave Campaigns funded by the community has allowed our arts to make it through this time, so that we can say, “Live Arts Are Back.” Thank you, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati and ArtsWave donors for helping our region rebuild itself through the arts.”

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